HandsNet Wekly Digest Ap 4-10: housing-homelessness alerts, info

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Fri, 24 Apr 1998 13:00:45 -0700 (PDT)

FWD from"HandsNet Weekly Digest" <digest@smtp.handsnet.net>

April 4 - 10, 1998

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has been postponed on pending juvenile justice and Fair Housing
proposals. These may be considered soon after Congress reconvenes.  The
Violent and Repeat Juvenile Offender Act (S. 10) places children at
extreme risk, says CWLA, HN3898@handsnet.org: This bill is short on
prevention, places children in custody at risk of physical or sexual
assault by adult prisoners and fails to prevent children's access to
guns.  And the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1998 (H.R. 3206) is
unfair to kids. (Alerts)

"URGENT ALERT HR 3206-FAIR HOUSING" The Fair Housing Amendments Act
would allow cities to deny or limit housing opportunities for people
with disabilities and at-risk youth. Vigorous opposition by the Bazelon
Center, HN1660@handsnet.org, and the Coalition to Preserve the Fair
Housing Act has slowed the bill's progress, but its sponsors are intent
on moving the bill forward without any public hearing on the impact of
the bill. A model letter to Congress is posted.  (Alerts)

"CHILD CARE/CHIP/MINIMUM WAGE" A free Child Care Now! Organizer's Kit
and other materials are available from CDF, email:
cdfchildcare@childrensdefense.org.  April 1 marked the six-month
anniversary of the Children's Health Insurance Program; 9 states plans
have been approved, another 16 states have submitted plans for
approval.  Twelve of the states plan to expand children's health
coverage through Medicaid, 7 through a separate state program, and 6
through a combination of a Medicaid and separate program. Senator
Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) and Democratic Whip David Bonior (D-MI) have
co-sponsored legislation (S.  1805/H.R. 3510) calling for raising the
minimum wage to $5.65 an hour in 1999 and $6.15 an hour in 2000.
Advocates are gearing up for a National Day of Action sponsored by
ACORN on Thursday, April 16 to support increasing the minimum wage;
contact tlucas@childrensdefense.org. (Alerts)

"EFFORTS PERSIST TO REPEAL IDEA" IDEA was enacted because state and
local education agencies would exclude or under-educate hundreds of
thousands of students with disabilities. A sample letter urging
Senators to oppose the IDEA Flexibility Amendment and any other
attempts to repeal or weaken IDEA is posted.
>From Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, HN1660@handsnet.org.

Block Grant is a mainstay of critical support for child care, child
abuse prevention and treatment and many other children's services, yet
it has been a target for repeated cuts in recent years. Clinton's FY99
Budget proposes an additional 17% cut for FY99. Urge Congress to fund
the Title XX for FY99 at least at its current level of $2.38 billion,
says Children's Defense Fund, HN3208@handsnet.org.  A sign on letter to
Congress is posted. (Alerts)

** Children, Youth & Families:  "WHAT DOES THE ADOPTION AND SAFE FAMILY
ACT MEAN?" The new act requires states to provide health insurance
coverage for more children with special needs, authorizes $20 million
for each of FY 1999-2003 for payments to eligible states that increase
the number of children adopted and requires states to document
reasonable echild-specific efforts to place a child for adoption, among
other provisions. States are already in the process of implementing
this complex legislation, reports Child Welfare League of America,
HN3898@handsnet.org.  (Children, Youth & Families/Child
Welfare/Adoption/Supporting Adoption)

"CWLA NEEDS YOUR HELP" The Annie E. Casey Foundation and CWLA are
working together to identify groups that help young people who have
aged or dropped out of the foster care system. Contact Robin Nixon,
rnixon@cwla.org, 202-638-2952.  (Children, Youth & Families/Child
Welfare/Hot Topics)

"FIRST-IN-NATION GRANDFAMILIES HOUSE" Nationwide, grandparents are
"parenting" alone to fill the gap left by parents whose lives have been
disrupted, often by death, drug-use, extreme poverty or AIDS. Census
Bureau figures indicate the number of grandparent care givers has
increased 50% in the last 25 years. Boston is the site of the nation's
first housing and service center specifically designed to meet the
needs of these "GrandFamilies." Boston Aging Concerns--Young & Old
United provides the highest quality intergenerational housing and
related services to assist families with a "missing generation."
>From the March 1998 issue of COMMON GROUND, the newspaper of the New
Association of Child Welfare Commissioners and Directors,
HN6866@handsnet.org.  (Children, Youth & Families/Child
Welfare/Preserving Families/Programs and Practices)

provided enhanced federal funding for states to automate their child
support enforcement systems. In 1988, Congress mandated such
automation.  When only one state met the 1995 deadline, Congress
extended it to 10/1/97. About one-third of the states met this
deadline; 17 states (including many larger states such as CA, IL, MI,
OH, PA) are nowhere near completing their systems. In PRWORA, Congress
added new automation requirements. The 3/25/98 proposed regulations
describe these new requirements and the approach OCSE will take to make
sure the systems are actually in place by 10/1/2000. Comments must be
submitted by 5/11/98 to Admin. on Children and Families, DHHS, 370
L'Enfant Promenade SW, Washington, D.C. 20447, Attn.: Norman Thompson,
OCSE.  Posted by CLASP, HN0134@handsnet.org.  (Children, Youth &
Families/Family Economic Security/Child Support/Federal Regs)

"NEW IDEAS IN BLENDED SENTENCING" According to OJJDP, 16 states have
enacted some form of blended sentencing for juvenile offenders in the
last few years.  This idea allows some young offenders to receive both
juvenile and adult sentences, and sometimes the offender may be able to
avoid the adult sentence if he or she complies with the juvenile
sentence.  Although some states boast success with blended sentencing,
there is debate about it.  Opponents say it is just another way to get
kids into the adult system and lacks a real solution to the problem of
violent juvenile offenders.  From the 3/9/98 Corrections Alert.  For a
copy, contact Aspen Publishers, 301-417-7500; FAX: 301-417-7550.
(Children, Youth & Families/Juvenile Justice/Viewpoints and Talking

"FROM NCCP MAP & TRACK 1998" Both official and alternative measures
indicate that despite the recent decline in the young child poverty
rate, the U.S. YCPR ranks among the worst of the Western industrialized
nations. However, policy can make a significant difference. In
particular, the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit has served to
reduce young child poverty substantially over the past few years.  From
the National Center on Children and Poverty, HN0521@handsnet.org.
(Children, Youth & Families/Fathers & Families/What's New /April 1998)

(HR 3605, S. 1890) by the Democratic leadership is endorsed by a wide
range of consumer and health groups.  It  will be the standard for what
we want in consumer protections, says Families USA,
HN0156@handsnet.org. It covers everything from consumers having a
choice of plans, to access to specialty and emergency care, continuity
of care, access to clinical trials and the prescription drugs you need,
to provider protections, external appeals, liability of health plans,
and state consumer assistance (ombudsman) programs. (Health
Issues/National Health Policy/Action in Congress)

legislation to set a uniform national standard on when and with whom
medical records may be shared. S.1368, introduced by Senator Patrick
Leahy (D-VT), has strong consumer protections, setting minimum
standards.  A draft bill by Senator Robert Bennett (R-UT) offers little
consumer protection.  S. 1921, introduced by Senator Jeffords (R-VT),
provides better protection than the Bennett bill in some areas but
falls far short of S. 1368, writes Bazelon Center for Mental Health
Law, HN1660@handsnet.org. (Alerts)

HN0098@handsnet.org, and National Immigration Law Center,
HN0181@handsnet.org, are collecting data on the impact of the 1996
welfare changes on health care for immigrants. They have posted a
survey targeting organizations or professionals who work with low
income immigrants in need of health care services. (Health
Issues/Constituent Groups)

coalition of anti-hunger, immigrant and other groups are urging
lawmakers to pass the Agriculture Research Conference Report (S. 1150,
H.R. 2534) when lawmakers return from the current recess. The package
contains $818 million in five year funding for legal immigrant food
stamp restorations as well as funding for ag research, crop insurance
and rural development. From Food Research and Action Center,
HN7449@handsnet.org. (Children, Youth & Families/Natl Welfare

Coalition to End Hunger and Homelessness found that of the 1,503
respondents, 544 were visiting a food pantry for the first time. Local
surveys humanize an issue, important for approaching lawmakers and in
creating an ally of the local media.  For a copy of the L.A. report and
survey instrument email: HN1674@handsnet.org.
>From CA Food Access Report by CA-Nevada Community Action Assoc,
HN0048@handsnet.org. (Children, Youth & Families/Hunger &
Nutrition/Statewide Advocacy)

** Housing - Community Development:  "WELFARE REFORM IMPACTS" A study
by HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research examines
implications of welfare reform for public housing authorities whose
residents traditionally contribute a portion of their incomes for
rent.  Rent revenue may decrease as welfare reform requirements take
hold and benefits cease, or it may increase if substantial numbers of
mandated residents find jobs that improve their incomes. The study
focuses on eight PHAs that vary with respect to their State's welfare
reform rules, rent and tenant selection policy, demographics of
mandated residents and economic conditions of surrounding areas.  A
print copy is $5 from HUD USER, 1-800-245-2691. Posted at
(Resources/HUD USER Resources)

** Legal Services:  "IT'S HERE! CIVIL BRIEF FROM NLADA" If you would
like to let your colleagues know what's new and exciting in your
organization ons: General News, Funding News, SPAN, ABC, LAPP, Upcoming
Events; you may do so by posting your information in the Civil Brief,
NLADA's electronic newsletter that is updated twice a month. Check it
out at http://www.nlada.org.  For more information contact La'Shaune
Lambert, 202-452-0620 x21, email: l.lambert@nlada.org. (Legal
Services/Public Forum)

"BOUMAN TO RECEIVE WISDOM AWARD" John Bouman, director of the Poverty
Law Project of the National Clearinghouse for Legal Services,
HN0111@handsnet.org, will receive the Litigation Section of the
American Bar Association's John Minor Wisdom Award at the Section of
Litigation's annual meeting on April 23-24 in New York. This
prestigious award, named for a famous jurist, recognizes Bouman's
accomplishments in his over 23-year career in poverty law.
Congratulations, John. (Children, Youth & Families/Family Economic
Security/TANF Block Grant and GA Programs/Midwestern States/Illinois/IL
Welfare News)

"WROs OPPOSE BANK MERGER" In testimony at Federal Reserve Board Hearing
on First Union/Core States Merger, Louise Brookins, Executive Director
of the Philadelphia Welfare Rights Organization, testified that the
bank must make a long term commitment to not to impose surcharges on
persons withdrawing EBT funds from ATMs, must increase the access and
safety or ATMs in low income neighborhoods, must lower hurdles which
keep people on welfare from opening checking accounts and commit to
hiring welfare recipients.  Copies of testimonies were provided by
Jonathan Stein, Community Legal Services, Philadelphia,
HN5505@handsnet.org. (Legal Services/Substantive Law/Public Benefits)

Financing Admin. is working to increase participation in Medicare
buy-in programs for Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries and Specified
Low-Income Medicare Beneficiaries.  Both programs are considered to be
substantially underutilized.  HCFA invites the advocacy community to
participate in this effort: contact Gina Clemons at 410-786-9644,
email: gclemons@hcfa.gov. Nat'l Senior Citizens Law Center,
HN0538@handsnet.org, prepared a report last year for the Kaiser
Foundation identifying barriers to current participation in the buy-in
programs. For a copy, call 1-800-656-4533 and ask for report #1329.
NSCLC also has posted a memo identifying seven activities that could be
undertaken at the federal level to improve program participation.
(Legal Services/Substantive Law/Senior Citizens)

** Welfare Reform:  "IDHS RESPONSE MISSES THE POINT" The IL Dept of
Human Services claims the "basic assumption" of an article by the
Poverty Law Center, HN6113@handsnet.org, is that "a grant increase is
needed to encourage TANF recipients to seek employment."  That is not
correct, writes John Bouman: We assume welfare recipients want to work
and get ahead, both because that is how they really feel and because
the new welfare structure strictly demands it. The central point of the
"Grant increase" article was that IL must view the TANF grant as a
welfare-to-work support. A shelter allowance helps eliminate barriers
to work and avoid creating new ones. From IL WELFARE NEWS.

The Weekly Digest is compiled by:
Sue Dormanen
HandsNet Editor
email: sdormanen@handsnet.org


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